Jada Summers delivered the game-winning shot on Tuesday to lift the Monroe City girls basketball team to a 53-52 win at South Shelby.
Jada Summers let her natural instincts take over.
The Monroe City junior received a sharp pass from senior Emilie Okenfuss and took one dribble before setting her feet and launching a shot that carried with it the fate of the game.
Summers, a 5-foot-5 forward, delivered the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left Tuesday to lift the Monroe City girls basketball team to a 53-52 win at Clarence Cannon Conference rival South Shelby.
What a finish. @MonroeCityHigh girls defeat @SSCardinalPride 53-52. Jada Summers delivers game-winning three right before the buzzer. pic.twitter.com/JWdYgjV1vG— Courier-Post (@HCP_Sports) January 31, 2018
“I was going to look to drive but didn't think I had enough time so I just shot it up,” Summers said. “I'm not really sure I expected that to happen, but I'm glad it did.”
South Shelby missed a half-court heave as time expired.
South Shelby junior Diane Mayes made a shot from the elbow with 10 seconds remaining to give the host Ladybirds (15-5, 1-2 CCC) a 52-50 advantage.
Lauren Youngblood quickly inbounded the ball for the Lady Panthers (17-2, 2-2) as neither team called timeout. Okenfuss dribbled three times to cross half court and found Summers with a little separation on the right wing.
“I didn't necessarily know it was going to be Jada doing it, but she's fully capable of hitting those shots,” Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said of the final points. “The best part of her game is getting to the rim — she's a nightmare for people down there — but she was able to step out and knock down that shot and it was huge for us.”
The Monroe City hero finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds, scoring 13 in the fourth quarter to help erase a 37-34 deficit entering the final period.
Freshman Riley Quinn made a jumper with 36 seconds left to make it 50-all, forcing the third tie of the final period that also featured four lead changes.
The bucket was Quinn's only of the night.
“I feel like she stepped up in the moment,” Summers said of Quinn. “I'm really proud of her. She's working really hard in practice every day and she did great tonight. She deserved to shoot that shot and she knows that she can do it.”
Delanie Okenfuss and Youngblood added buckets in the fourth to help Monroe City fend off South Shelby for the second time this season. The Lady Panthers also had the upper hand, 54-48, on Dec. 9 in the championship of their home tournament.
Both offenses took time to get rolling as the opponents combined for just five field goals in the first quarter. Monroe City built a 6-0 lead before South Shelby showed life with a three from Caitlyn Poore to pull within 10-7 by the end of the period.
Summers accounted for Monroe City's first three baskets in the second quarter before a Delanie Okenfuss three put the visitors up 20-16 with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left until halftime.
Lexie Higbee then capped a run of six unanswered points for the Ladybirds with a putback to give the hosts their first lead at 22-20 heading into the intermission.
Higbee paced South Shelby with 17 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Mayes complemented her down low with seven points and six boards.
“Lexie has really come on the last couple weeks and made a big difference for us,” South Shelby coach Luke O'Laughlin said. “When we get the ball inside, Diane does a good job screening and dumping. Those two do a good job working together. We started finding some success inside so that was good to see."
Summers (12) and Delanie Okenfuss (8) scored all of Monroe City's points in the first half. Okenfuss was the Lady Panthers second-leading scorer with 13 points.
After Poore, who finished with 12 points, nailed a 3-pointer in the first minute of the second half to put South Shelby up 25-20, Monroe City responded with a 12-2 spree fueled by four different scorers.
Hallie Dyer got a floater to fall to start the run before both Okenfuss sisters and Summers provided further firepower to take a 32-27 advantage halfway through the third.
Meredith O'Neal put South Shelby back on top when she made a three with 23 seconds left in the stanza. Logan Wise also added a trey in the period as part of her 11 points.
“Any game on the road in our conference is going to be tough,” Leonard said. “You don't necessarily always have to play your best, but you have to find a way to win. We did just enough to win tonight.”
Summers put the back-and-forth battle to rest with a shot that may have been her biggest to date this season.
O'Laughlin noted the Ladybirds loss was a result of more than just the final basket.
“That play stands out to everybody, but we did a lot of little things wrong throughout the game that cost us a one-point game,” the South Shelby coach said. “We could have done a lot of things different.”
The victory for Monroe City was its fourth by six or fewer points this season — and second of that margin to Class 2 No. 8 South Shelby. Summers thinks the experience of playing in close games will pay off when the Class 3 No. 6 Lady Panthers begin the postseason next month.
“This kind of game will help us later on in districts because we're not always going to win by a lot,” she said. “It helps us when we're under pressure to get stuff done and know what we need to do.”